13 September – Power Grid Corp, the Indian state run utility, has won a three year management contract for the Nigerian transmission network, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

The contract, worth $5.1 million, is part of a series of reforms being undertaken to liberalise the electricity sector and attract private investment. The deal is still subject to approval by the National Council on Privatisation.

Other bidders for the contract included Ireland’s ESB International and Canadian Manitoba Hydro.

The electricity liberalisation law, which was implemented in 2005, stripped NEPA of its monopoly status and unbundled the sector into six generation company, 11 distribution companies and the transmission grid.

Distribution and generation are slated for privatisation at a later date.

A lack of power is one of the major obstacles facing Africa today – yet foreign investment has been discourage by lack of liberalisation of the market, a poorly run electricity sector and low tariffs.

President Umaru Yar’Adua, who took office in May, has promised accelerated reforms and has mandated the National Council on Energy to produce a policy roadmap within the next six months.

The President has also pledge to declare a ‘national emergency’ in the power sector, in order to provide more protection to the power infrastructure against theft and sabotage.

Despite ex-president Obsanjo spending $2.5 billion on 7 new gas-fired power stations over the last few years, Nigeria has not managed to lift its generation capacity above 3 000MW.